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Farmers deprived of crop damage compensation due to non use of AIM system

By: Staff Writer

February 20, Colombo (LNW): Sri Lankan Farmers have been deprived of insurance compensation for crop damages due to the failure to use Agricultural Information Management System (AIMS) properly, government audit office stated

Agreements had been reached with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to formulate the new system to streamline the process of insurance compensation for crop damages.

Although the financial facilities of Rs.20 million had been provided to the board for this purpose and the board had spent Rs.23 million towards this end the system has not used for the compensation process and therefore the desired objectives had not been achieved, government audit observed.

The Cabinet has decided to allocate necessary provisions to compensate the farmers affected due to bad weather in the Yala Season last year, the government said.

It said about 53,965 farmers were affected and 58,770 acres of paddy and other crops were damaged in the 2023 Yala Season as a result of the inability to provide sufficient water due to bad weather conditions.

Farmers related to compensation for crop losses have not been identified and settled, it added.

Although Rs.70.8 million compensation paid to 8,185 farmers in the years 2017 and 2018 related to the Kethata Aruna insurance scheme run by the Board to provide reparation to farmers for crop damages with the objective of promoting agricultural products, have sent back by the commercial banks.

This was due to nonconformity in account numbers, names and ID numbers of farmers, the relevant farmers have not been identified and that balance had not been settled for 05 years, audit report highlighted.

Insurance certificates had not been given to farmers after reducing the insurance premiums, the report revealed.

An accident insurance premium of Rs.10.77 million was deducted from the compensation amount to be paid to 26,904 farmers for the 2021/22 season.

Although the accident insurance cover should be provided for a period of one year from the date of reduction, the insurance certificates had not been issued to 14,779 farmers even though 07 months had passed from the date of reduction.

Agricultural Information Management System (AIMS) is developed by the Agricultural and Agrarian Insurance Board (AAIB) with technical assistance from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) under the Global Index Insurance Facility (GIIF) – a multi donor trust fund.

AIMS is a pioneering step towards modernising the agriculture sector in Sri Lanka which consists of a web and mobile application to manage accurate data and streamline the operational aspects of the agriculture sector by connecting all stakeholders in to one hub, a high official of the agriculture ministry said.

It carries a centralised database that consists of farmer and farm field information along with geographical referencing, location data, weather data, irrigation system, fertiliser and many more details to facilitate the current requirements, he added.

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